Miami-Dade School Board, parents to discuss controversial approval of 2 sex education textbooks

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – On Wednesday, the Miami-Dade School Board will decide whether two sex education text books will end up in the classroom.

Some parents are expected to speak at the meeting, who are concerned about how the board will move forward with the books titled, “Comprehensive Health Skills.” The two separate textbooks are designed for middle and high schools.

“It goes into details about medical procedures such as abortion,” said Alex Serrano, the county director for County Citizens Defending Freedom, the organization that has highlighted a number of examples in the textbooks they believe are inappropriate, especially for middle school-aged children .

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County Citizens Defending Freedom cites a textbook excerpt from chapter 20 and page 653 in which abortion is addressed.

According to the excerpts posted as examples, the textbooks also address: emergency contraception, natural methods like withdrawal, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Formal objections were raised, which sparked a hearing with a district officer, who after listening to those concerned, recommended the books be adopted.

Last time, five of the nine school board members voted in favor to keep the books.

“Yes, I voted against it,” School Board Member Mari Tere Rojas said.

Tere Rojas says she voted against the use of the books in the classroom because the contents are not age appropriate.

She pointed to contraception measures and abortion as those sensitive subjects.

“It is something that I personally do not believe is something that is age appropriate for those students to address,” she said.

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The last time this came up, those who voted in favor of keeping the books in the classroom say the process works and the books were vetted.

“The banning of books is a slippery slope,” School Board Member Lucia Baez-Geller said.

Baez-Geller has worked as a teacher for 15 years.

She says pulling the contents from the book is a disservice to students.

“They follow the standards for our reproductive health here in Florida and I believe that every student should have a chance to learn the scientific facts that do affect them later in life,” she said.

Board Member Steve Gallon, who has kids in the public school system, voted to use the books and says this is about parents’ rights.

“You have parents that want that level of access and information for their children and those parents have a right,” he said.

Gallon says given the amount of access kids have to information via social media, it makes sense they get this kind of information in a structured, vetted and researched-based environment like the classroom.

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